The U.S.-China Trade Agreement was signed on Jan. 15, 2019. The 94-page enacted agreement contains a 21-page section (Annex 6.1) that tabulates products for China to import from the United States. Listed under “Industrial machinery” (Code 8401 items) are: “Nuclear reactors; fuel elements (cartridges), non-irradiated, for nuclear reactors; machinery and apparatus for isotopic separation; parts thereof.” This correspondence is thought to be the first to address the $240 billion trade Phase One agreement to sell U.S. nuclear reactors to China.
The distribution of nuclear material to China, historically an unfair trade partner and combatant of the tariff-fueled cold war, is recognized as a grave concern of the United States and other countries.
Today, U.S.-designed and -engineered advanced multipurpose small modular reactors (SMRs) provide mobility, flexibility and a non-carbon (environment favorable) energy source for diverse civilian applications. Alarming, is that the U.S. nuclear reactors and equipment could be diverted for military use by China (e.g., nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines of The People’s Liberation Army Navy), redistributed or shared with bordering countries (e.g., Pakistan, North Korea, Afghanistan and Russia) or reversed engineered.
Was the U.S. nuclear reactor trade initiative approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce and/or International Atomic Energy Association? This nuclear reactor initiative is neither a political issue nor a business matter; it is a worldwide security concern.
Summarily, the marketing of nuclear reactors, active fuel cartridges and equipment for isolating radioactive isotopes to Communist China warrants full disclosure, critical review and regulatory compliance.
John Pauly, Ph.D.